David Nicholas Yip[1] (Chinese: 葉西園; pinyin: Yè Xīyuán; born 4 June 1951) is a British actor of Chinese and English descent. He gained prominence through his lead role in the BBC series The Chinese Detective.[2]

David Yip
David Nicholas Yip

(1951-06-04) 4 June 1951 (age 71)
Liverpool, England
OccupationActor, playwright
Years active1979–present
SpouseVirginia Yip
Chinese name

Early lifeEdit

Yip was born in Liverpool to a Chinese father, a seaman from Canton, and an English mother from Liverpool. He has six brothers and had a working class upbringing.[3][4]

After leaving school at 16, Yip worked as a shipping clerk for British Railways for 2 years. At 18, he was offered a job as an assistant stage manager by Teresa Collard at the Neptune Theatre. He participated in local youth productions while working at the Everyman, including one under the direction of Barry Kyle when he was visiting the Liverpool Playhouse. Yip's peers encouraged him to audition for drama school. He got into East 15 Acting School and went on to complete his training in 1973.[5]


Yip's first screen roles were in the detective game show Whodunnit? in 1975, and small roles in the BBC TV movie Savages (1975) and an episode of the sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum in 1978. He appeared in the 1979 TV series of Quatermass for Thames Television, and also had a small part in the 1979 Doctor Who story "Destiny of the Daleks". He became better known for playing the lead role of John Ho in the 1981 BBC drama The Chinese Detective, notable for its frontlining of an ethnic British cast. He also played Michael Choì in the soap opera Brookside from 1989 to 1990. In 1990, he appeared as a contestant on Cluedo, facing off against comedian Tony Slattery. His film credits include playing Wu Han in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and CIA liaison agent Chuck Lee in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.

He performed the radio play The Inventor of Fireworks, written by Benjamin Yeoh for BBC Radio 3 on 22 January 2004.

Yip wrote a play entitled Gold Mountain, based on his father's life. It was intended for the Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 event, but was delayed due to writing problems. It premiered on 6 October 2010, at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool, and was performed again in 2012.[6]

In 2013, Yip joined the cast of feature film All That Remains[7] which was released on 5 May 2016.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

David Yip is a practising Nichiren Buddhist and a member of the Soka Gakkai International. He lives in north Oxfordshire with his wife Virginia and his dog Buddy.[9] His brother, Stephen Yip, stood as an independent candidate in the 2021 Liverpool mayor election.

He only adopted his Chinese name, coined by friends, as an adult whilst working on a movie in Hong Kong.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Quatermass Conclusion Frank Chen
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Wu Han
1985 A View to a Kill Chuck Lee
1986 Ping Pong Mike Wong
1987 Out of Order Policeman
1994 Goodbye Hong Kong Peter Ma
1996 Hamlet Sailor One
1999 Fast Food Mr Fortune
1999 Entrapment Chief of Police
2001 My Kingdom Merv
2008 Act of Grace Kai
2009 The School That Roared Winnie's Dad
2011 Re-Evolution Councillor
2016 All That Remains Noburu Nagai
2020 Break Vincent Qiang
TBA Sigh of the Sea


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Whodunnit? Suspect Episode: "Portrait in Black"
1979 Doctor Who Veldan Destiny of the Daleks; 2 episodes
1979 Quatermass Frank Chen 2 episodes
1981–1982 The Chinese Detective Detective Sergeant John Ho Lead role
1989–1990 Making Out Mr. Kim 3 episodes
1989–1990 Brookside Michael Choi 17 episodes
1993 Every Silver Lining Leonard 6 episodes
1996 Bugs Chaku Episode: "...Must Come Down "
2000 Arabian Nights Assad Miniseries
2002 Oscar Charlie Dr Pang 6 episodes
2003 The Bill Li Chen Episode: "100: Under the Thumb"
2006 Casualty Jiang Guang Episode: "No Way Back"
2008 ChuckleVision Chives the Butler Episode: "The Mystery of Little-Under-Standing"
2010 Spirit Warriors Ding-Xiang 6 episodes
2013 Holby City Raymond Lo 2 episodes
2014 24: Live Another Day President Wei 2 episodes
2017–2018 Fortitude Hong Mankyo 6 episodes (series 2–3)
2018 Luo Bao Bei Grandpa Voice role; 26 episodes
2021 Midsomer Murders Fergus Rooney Episode: "Scarecrow Murders"
2022 The Capture Xian Xiaodong

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Silver Cagen
2001 Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon
2003 Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior Ko'vash
2010 Just Cause 2
2012 Brink Additional voices
2013 Lego City Undercover
2017 The Lego Ninjago Movie Video Game
2018 Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Pugnacius English version


  1. ^ "David Yip - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ Hill, Dave (12 March 2009). "The Chinese Detective starring David Yip was quality 1980s television drama". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  3. ^ "David Yip stars in 'Gold Mountain' at Liverpool's Unity Theatre". Liverpool Daily Post. 8 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ Clarke, Alan (October 1983). "Interview with David Yip The Chinese Detective" (PDF). Marxism Today. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  5. ^ Rogers, Philip (22 July 2020). "Exclusive Interview with David Yip about 'Break'". Blazing Minds.
  6. ^ "David Yip On ... Revisiting 'Gold Mountain'". What's On Stage. 10 April 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Cast Interview: David Yip". All That Remains: production blog. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  8. ^ "All That Remains (2016)". IMDb. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  9. ^ https://davidyip.co.uk/biography/
  10. ^ "Chinese in Britain Radio Interviews". British Library. Retrieved 19 August 2022.

External linksEdit